A Tribute to Lou Olsen

CINCINNATI, OH – First Transit mourns the loss of Louis B. Olsen who served as President of its predecessor company, ATE Management and Service Company. 

Following an Air Force career as an officer in the Strategic Air Command, Lou first became involved with transit in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was the city manager. He then served as Director of Marketing on the ATE management team for the Metropolitan Transit Commission in Minneapolis-St. Paul where he rose to become General Manager and Chief Administrator. During that period, Lou was honored by the American Public Transit Association with its highest award for distinguished service by a transit manager.

In 1985, Lou was appointed President of ATE, and it was under his leadership that the company grew to become the nation’s largest transit management firm. Lou retired in 1991 to his home in Florida where he remained active through volunteer work and service on the boards of several small companies.

Lou is best remembered by the numerous young men and women whom he brought into our industry and whom he mentored. He was widely known as a “Super Salesman” who worked closely with city managers and transit authority boards to promote the private management of public resources.

Lou is survived by his wife, Carol, six children, and fifteen grandchildren.

First Transit, Inc. has more than 51 years of experience and is a leading provider of passenger transportation contract and management services in the United States, providing operation, management and consulting for nearly 150 systems in 40 states, Canada and Puerto Rico for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, federal agencies, municipal organizations, and private companies. First Transit employs more than 6,500 dedicated transit professionals.